Pahrump judge releases mom charged in fatal fire


A Pahrump judge released the mother of three children killed in last week?s house fire saying that the woman belonged with her family, not in jail.

Justice of the Peace Tina Brisebill released 29-year-old Sharon Broadhead on her own recognizance during a 10 a.m. hearing Monday in Pahrump Justice Court.

Broadhead was arrested by a Nye County Sheriff?s detective on Saturday afternoon. She was charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter and three counts of child abuse and neglect causing death. Her bail was set at $35,000.

A public defender represented Broadhead during the Monday morning hearing. Tom Gibson argued to the judge that the manslaughter charges against Broadhead were a ?legal impossibility? and her bail should reflect as much.

?This is not what the law envisioned. I?m not knocking the sheriff?s office, they?re not lawyers, but this is a legal impossibility under the facts as I understand them to be used to charge this woman,? he said.

Police allege that under questioning Broadhead admitted to a pattern of negligence that resulted in previous, unreported fires at her manufactured home at 3421 Prospector Lane. On Wednesday that home burned, killing 18-month-old Elliot Broadhead, 4-year-old Zachary Broadhead, 5-year-old Brandon Michael Smith and a family friend, 24-year-old Crystal Smiley.

A fire investigation revealed that a juvenile in the home most likely sparked the fire with an ?open flame source.?

According to a statement Saturday from the Nye County Sheriff?s Office, ?one of the children had been caught on at least one occasion of sneaking a lighter from the mother?s purse which was also found on the master bedroom dresser. The purse had no lighter within it.?

Gibson argued that the statement suggests that police made a mistake arresting Broadhead.

?What we have here is a horrible accident,? Gibson said in court. ?The sheriffs have arrested this woman based upon what I would call very weak probable cause and what their motivation is to do that rather than do further investigation, I don?t know.?

Gibson also argued that keeping Broadhead in jail would only further the injustice.

?It will be a travesty to hold a person in custody and not let her attend her own children?s funeral,? Gibson said.

Nye County Deputy District Attorney Charlie Watkins didn?t oppose Gibson?s arguments and agreed that Broadhead should at least get a ?small bail.?

?I haven?t seen anything that says she?s a danger to the public,? Watkins told the court. ?I don?t think she?s a flight risk.?

Brisebill agreed and ordered Broadhead?s release to the home of her husband, Anthony Broadhead, and he?ll be responsibility for making sure she makes future court appearances.

?I don?t think Mrs. Broadhead is a flight risk also. I am more concerned about her mental state right now and her condition; and it?s not being well served where she is. She needs to be with her family right now,? the judge said.

Broadhead was ordered to appear in court on March 28.

Funeral arrangements have been set for her three sons and Smiley.

A viewing for the three boys is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Manse Chapel, 5461 Manse Road. A funeral service will take place at noon Wednesday.

A viewing for Smiley will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Pahrump Valley Mortuary. A funeral service will take place at 2 p.m. Friday at the Pahrump Community Church, 1061 E. Wilson Road.

 

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